Four Underground Rescue Efforts That Riveted the World – by Christina Caron and Julia Jacobs (New York Times – July 8, 2018)

After two weeks of huddling in a flooded cave in northern Thailand, several of the 12 boys who were trapped with their soccer coach have been rescued in a harrowing extraction that could take days to complete.

Divers on Sunday began pulling the boys to safety through long, narrow passageways that are challenging for even the most skilled cave divers. With the world watching, the rescue team was racing against rising floodwaters in what has become one of the most engrossing rescue missions in recent years.

Here is a look at other underground rescue attempts — some successful, some not — that have transfixed people around the world.

1975: Indian Mine Explosion Kills Hundreds

A blast at a coal mine in northeast India triggered flooding from a nearby reservoir that killed hundreds of miners.

In response to a plea from Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the United States, France and Switzerland rushed to deliver high-capacity pumps to drain the water, but the men were already feared dead. As one government official said at the time, it would take a miracle to save them.

Ten hours after the disaster, four bodies were removed, a grim indication of what was to come, The Associated Press reported.

There was debate about exactly how many miners were trapped. The Indian press initially said about 900 workers were in the mine, but Indian censors ordered the story suppressed, The A.P. said. A government official later told reporters that there were “heavy casualties” and that there were 250 to 300 miners trapped.

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